The Plummeting Old Women (Essays & Texts in Cultural History)

2 Dec

The Plummeting Old Women (Essays & Texts in Cultural History)

The Plummeting Old Women (Essays & Texts in Cultural History)

Daniil Kharms

Language: English

Pages: 101


Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

The Plummeting Old Women by Daniil Kharms is a collection of stories, incidents, dialogues and fragments that forms an important part of the buried literature of Russian modernism now revealed under glasnost. These texts are characterized by a startling and macabre novelty, with elements of the grotesque, fantastic and child-like touching the imagination of the everyday. They express the cultural landscape of Stalinism -- years of show trials, mass atrocities and stifled political life. Their painful, unsettling eloquence testify to the humane and the comic in this absurdist writer's work. The translator Neil Cornwall gives a biographical introduction to his subject, enlarged upon by the poet Hugh Maxton in a contextual assessment of the writing of Flann O'Brien, Le Fanu and Doyle, and of their shared concerns with detective fiction, terror and death. Daniil Kharms 91905-42) died under Stalin. Along with fellow poets and prose-writers of the era -- Khlebnikov, Biely, Mandelstam, Zabolotsky and Pasternak -- he is one of the emerging experimentalists of Russian modernism.

















be at all. But the time was when any one of you would have come to me and, whatever burden may have oppressed a person, whatever sins may have tormented his thoughts, I would have embraced him and said – My son, take comfort, for no burden is oppressing you and I see no bodily sins in you – and he would scamper away from me in happiness and joy. I was great and strong. People who met me on the street would shy to one side and I would pass through a crowd like a flat iron. My feet would often be

perfection, but at the same time it remains inconceivable. Even the smallest conceivable point would not be perfect. 7. A straight line is perfect, for there is no reason for it not to be infinitely long on both sides, to have neither end nor beginning, and thereby be inconceivable. But by putting pressure on it and limiting it on both sides, we render it conceivable, but at the same time imperfect. If you believe this, then think on. (10 July 1931) 8. A straight line, broken at one point,

fairy story and children’s story, the philosophical and dramatic dialogue, pantomime, the comic monologue, carnival and the silent movie. All seem to be present somewhere, in compressed form and devoid of explanations and other standard trappings. Kharms, indeed, serves up, transforms or aborts the bare bones – sometimes literally! – of the sub-plots, plot fragments and authorial devices of world literature, from the narratives of antiquity and classical European fiction to the play on plot and

particular with you expressions. – I consider … – began Tikakeyev, but Koratygin interrupted him: – If you consider … – he said, but at this point Tikakeyev interrupted Koratygin and said: – A fine one you are! These words put Koratygin into such a frenzy that he pressed a finger against one of his nostrils and through his other nostril blew snot at Tikakeyev. Then Tikakeyev pulled the biggest cucumber out of his bag and hit Koratygin across the head with it. Koratygin clutched at his head

hear a weak but insistent sound. I seem to be lying down. And at this point, a mighty relaxation stopped my heart. (1 February 1939) The Red-Haired Man (or ‘Blue Notebook No. 10’) There was a red-haired man who had no eyes or ears. Neither did he have any hair, so he was called red-haired theoretically. He couldn’t speak, since he didn’t have a mouth. Neither did he have a nose. He didn’t even have any arms or legs. He had no stomach and he had no back and he had no spine and he had

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